I have been to quite a few Comic-Cons in San Diego (SDCC) so this year, instead of waiting in line for hours to see a panel or movie preview, I decided to look at all the ways miniatures showed up in Comic-Con’s pop culture extravaganza.
The point of this adventure was to connect the more traditional forms of miniatures (dollhouses, adult collectibles, miniature art, model railroading) to kinds of miniatures that many traditional miniaturists are never exposed to. The connections will be explained further in the soon-to-be published PART 3 of the Miniature Manifesto (coming soon). But overall, the idea is that there are lots of people engaging with miniatures of all types and it is worthwhile knowing what other versions of miniature worlds exist.
Most people got to Comic-Con to experience the larger-than-life aspects of pop culture: the movies and television programs that are previewed, the cosplayers with their delightful costumes, the stars who give interviews and autographs, the booths with their themed merchandise, and the actual comic book artists who display their works in the Artist’s Alley. But with a little change of focus (so to speak), what becomes evident is that miniatures are an important aspect of all these pop culture areas. In previous years I have interviews manufacturers of action figures and attended panels on their marketing. This year I focused on the miniatures themselves.
Most abundant are various forms and scales of action figures and and models of well-known characters. The scales vary tremendously and are described with terms that are not always consistent with traditional miniatures.. They are life-size figures,1/6th scales (approx 12 inches, sometimes called “sixth scale”), 6 inch (or 1/12th or “one:12” as one manufacturer labels it) scale, micro figures (maybe 1/144th scale?), 3 ¾ inch figures, toy scales, and something called “legendary scale” which is more than 36 inches high, and “premium format” which is approx 24 inches high..
There were kid’s toys like My Little Pony (a phenomenon I cannot understand) and its related mini figures. And of course little trolls, lots of them.
Also interesting were the gaming examples. Tabletop games that were designed by players as well as some commercial one were set up for play in a room organized by “Play It Painted,” a community of players who design, construct, and paint exquisitely their boards and figures. I don’t have the names of the individual games and players but their Facebook page identifies some of the works that you can see in these photos.
Finally, there was an exhibit at Sideshow of reimagined R2-D2 figures that were just delightful.